4 Things to Look for In a Manufacturing Education Program

4 Things to Look for In a Manufacturing Education ProgramMany of our posts these last couple of weeks have been about manufacturing education, and specifically, community colleges here in Nebraska that offer manufacturing education programs.

We’re doing that for good reason–now is as good of a time as ever for getting involved in a career in manufacturing, and we want everyone to know about the options available to someone who wants to work in manufacturing.

One thing that we can tell you when it comes to learning the skills needed for a career in manufacturing is that all programs are not created equal. And with that in mind, we thought we’d spend today outlining 4 things that you should look for when choosing a manufacturing education program:

  1. Accreditation: Any program that you enroll in at a community college should be accredited by a national agency like the Higher Learning Commission. Trade schools have similar programs. Finally, the best manufacturing education programs around the country are starting to be accredited by the National Institution for Metalworking Skills, which is certainly a positive if you can find such a program.
  2. Instructors with industry experience: Wherever you’re looking at getting your education, you should ask around and do research into the backgrounds of the instructors. Make sure that the majority of instructors have real industry experience–the more the better. The more real industry experience that instructors have, the more in-tune they will be with best practices of manufacturing, and the more likely it is that the skills you’ll learn will carry over into the real world.
  3. Hands-on classroom environments: Similarly, you should check the curriculum (and visit the facility, if possible) to see what the classroom environment is like. Some time in the classroom obviously isn’t a bad thing, but if your program doesn’t offer you many opportunities to work hands-on with real equipment, you should try looking elsewhere. When you graduate, you’ll need real, applicable skills, and those are only gained by actually working with machinery.
  4. Partnerships with manufacturers: Lastly, one positive bonus to look for in a manufacturing education program is partnerships with manufacturers. Do local manufacturers have any involvement with the school you’re looking at, whether through internships, instruction, or anything else? Such partnerships often offer great learning experiences, and they’re a good thing to look for if you’re trying to choose one program over another.

No educational system is perfect, but there are definitely some programs that are better than others. And given the serious need for more students to go though the manufacturing education process, we want to make sure that students who are interested are choosing the best programs around.

As a final note? All of the community colleges in Nebraska offer manufacturing education programs that meet many of these criteria. So if you’re looking to get started in manufacturing, you don’t have to look very far–we have a lot of great educators right here in our backyard.

If you’d like to know more about manufacturing education, or about the best ways to go about enrolling in a skills training program, let us know in the comments or on Twitter. We’d love to help!

Photo credit: Southeast Community College